Have you said something and immediately regretted it?
Most of us could honestly agree that we have uttered words when our feelings were biased and our thinking distorted by negative emotions. Particularly when we don’t guard our hearts. Once the words were spoken, we wish we could retract them, however often it’s too late to mend the damage that has been done. Maybe you have lost friendships because of this. Similarly, you might have opened your emotions to someone who hurt you and swiftly you feel offended because you believe the other person might have taken advantage of your sincerity. Does any of this resonate – especially when you know you didn’t guard your heart?
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Is confusion clogging your perspective?
As the winter season chillingly announces the departing changes in nature dying all around us, I am reminded of how every season in life brings varying shifts. We have to keep on top of cleaning our home or valeting our car, because if we allow this to slip, we soon could find ourselves in the middle of untidiness and clutter.
We require a mindfulness in order to get back on track, if we are to clear and clean the spaces we spend a lot of time in. Similiarly, sometimes carelessly this can be transferred to our hearts and minds. Where we clutter it with unhelpful junk. Removing God’s goodness and peace. We place our trust in things and people and take our focus off trusting fully in God. Before long, we have allowed the guard on our heart and mind (studying God’s word and prayerful fellowship) unintentionally to fall away.
Unexpectedly, I found myself in a risky situation, simply as I ignored all the signs to guard my heart and mind, because we know that caring isn’t always black and white. So, finding myself in this place, I feel this could be a red flag for someone who is toying with the idea of not trusting that God is placing that intuitive gut instinct as His gentle voice whispering discernment to you.
When you don’t guard your heart, you might end up with unhealthy cycles, no accountability and could imperceptibly make unnecessary mistakes.
1| You clutter your mind
If you don’t renew your mind constantly and keep it in sync with what God is saying as a caring Father, you will move away from living a powerful and transformed life, because you are not building yourself up with God’s word or listening to His voice (above all the other voices). When this happens, it becomes precarious because you can allow your emotions to overtake a situation and end up misinterpreting a situation or getting hurt. We need to guard our hearts and set boundaries around emotions if we are the person always trying to help save the world.
2| You miss God’s will
Although I am no expert, the continually process of renewing our minds (Romans 12:2) means we know where we fit into God’s will. That triggers a transformation in our moral character. We become more aware of the plans and purposes God has for us and are able to follow them. When the power and spirit of God remodels our brains, our lives will be one that reflects a wise impact, because we are aiming to become more like Christ. Remember how everything good and acceptable and perfect is where we should be allowing our minds to dwell? But it doesn’t stop there, it will overflow into our emotions, heart, desires, what we say and do as well as our potential.
3| You speak with reckless intentions
We all can relate to that moment where we never held ourselves in check. To examine what we were about to say. Or worse do. We failed to consider the purpose of reserving our comment and allowing the Word of God to filter our heart. It may have come in a moment of chaos or confusion. Where our emotions were running high. And recklessly we did not guard our words by snapping or speaking when we are angry. There was no careful thought to what we were about to say. We lacked every consideration of God’s wisdom. Again, the book of Proverbs is filled with how to be prudent. To be deliberate and gracious with what we say. Using discretion always and permitting God to lead us. (Proverbs 10)
Practice how to take a step back, even when tempted to race ahead and tackle the situation
- Maybe you have felt you weren’t sensible. Where you should have kept your mouth shut, you barged right in. At times we may need to pray and ask God to filter His wisdom and discernment instantly rapidly into our situation. Because there is a time to speak and a time to refrain. What is important is enabling God’s wisdom to flow out of our hearts, minds and mouth.
- Maybe a situation or a person has caused you to feel offended or upset. Sometimes we need to choose to understand before speaking. Examine the matter or situation first then facilitate God to guide our speech and deal with our heart before we say anything.
At times it’s hard to forgive and easy to retaliate with malicious words. Where does wisdom go then? It flies out of the wind far away from flourishing in our conversation. Proverbs 4 talks about gaining wisdom and getting understanding. That means how we discern, comprehend and interpret the situation in line with God’s word and wisdom. In that heated moment. When harsh gossip hurts us. When a relation is bruised. Here we have the opportunity to step away from damaging the situation further with thoughtless and hasty speaking. If only we submit to God permit him to lead our hearts so that our words are guarded. I am learning the hard way and believe me this might not be the last time I learn this. But it is so important to guard our hearts, vigilantly, because out of it flows the spring of our very life. (Proverbs 4:23)
4| You skip God’s timing
This book of Ecclesiastes has so much savvy insight into the cycle of life where everything has a season and purpose, and is crucial for us to discern and understand as we confront every situation. And if we do not understand, to ask God for wisdom so that we know when to speak and when to keep our mouth shut. (Ecclesiastes 3:7) Lately I have been impressed to study this book of wisdom that Solomon wrote towards in his later years as he reflected over his life.
When you seek God’s wisdom for your life as a conscious choice. To be discreet. This requires diligence and discipline. In becoming methodical enough to know when you should stop and think, rather than be brash and speak. The bible warns us against getting into foolish arguments. (Proverbs 26) Read the timeless book of Proverbs and discover a mountain of advice that is so applicable to your life. When we utilise words that are filled with love, wisdom and grace (Ephesians 4:29) then all our communication becomes encouraging and inspirational.
- Take a moment to pause, breathe and reflect on these points.
- In order to avoid that overwhelming feeling sweeping your mind and emotions, putting everything on hold for 10 minutes can allow you space to pace yourself. Sometimes you might need to wait longer.
- You are the only person that can create protective strategies i.e. limits and boundaries for yourself and those around you. And indicate to others when they are crossing the boundary or making you feel uncomfortable.
Restoration to guarding our hearts and minds will come when we surrender all areas of our heart to God. As painful as it feels, we can only choose right living if we submit to God and pray for wisdom. (James 1)
Share your thoughts…
How have you allowed vital relationships to perish from lack of understanding? Or debates with foolish people to turn into an argument? Or failed to use discretion and spoken recklessly instead of being prudent?